Workforce

No deal means there is no longer an automatic right to free movement of persons. However, both sides are putting in place special provisions to provide for as much continuity as possible.

Current EU workforce in the UK

EU Settlement Scheme employer toolkit: 
gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-employer-toolkit

Guide for those applying for the EU Settlement Scheme: 
gov.uk/eusettledstatus

Under a no-deal scenario, EU citizens currently resident in the UK will not be required to leave once the UK leaves the EU.

EU citizens resident in the UK by the time the UK leaves the EU will have until December 2020 to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme. 

Successful applications to the EU Settlement Scheme will allow EU citizens to continue living in working in the UK after the UK leaves the EU.

The scheme opened fully on 30th March 2019 – EU citizens do not need to register before the UK leaves the EU in order to be eligible for the scheme.

The EU Settlement Scheme is a government scheme that can provide EU citizens currently resident in the UK with the right to continue living and working in the UK beyond December 2020.

It is free for EU citizens to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.

The applications are handled online through a process that is quicker and simpler than other visa applications and the Home Offices are looking for reasons to accept applications.

The online application consists of three key stages:

  1. An identity check
  2. A UK residency check
  3. A criminal record check. 

Successful applicants will be granted either ‘pre-settled status’ or ‘settled status’.

Successful applicants to the EU Settlement Scheme will be granted either ‘pre-settled status’ or ‘settled status’.

Settled status will be granted to successful applicants who can demonstrate five or more years of continuous residency in the UK. Those granted settled status can continue living and working in the UK for as long as they wish.

Pre-settled status will be granted to successful applicants who can demonstrate less than five years of continuous residency in the UK. Those granted pre-settled status can continue living and working in the UK for a further five years, allowing them to stay long enough to be eligible for settled status if they wish to remain in the UK indefinitely.

If someone is granted pre-settled status, they will be able to combine the time they spent in the UK before Brexit with the time they spent in the UK after Brexit to demonstrate the five years of continuous residency in the UK required for settled status.

For example:
1. An EU citizen has been resident in the UK for one year prior to Brexit.
2. They apply to the EU Settlement Scheme and are granted pre-settled status, giving them the right to stay in the UK for a further five years
3. After living in the UK with pre-settled status for four years, they become eligible for settled status as they can demonstrate five years of residence in the UK (i.e. one year before Brexit, four years after Brexit).
4. They successfully apply to upgrade to settled status, which gives them a permanent right to live and work in the UK.

Pre-settled status does not convert to settled status automatically and those with pre-settled status will need to apply to upgrade to settled status.

Some non-EU family members and partners of EU citizens will also be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme through their relationship with an EU citizen.

Further government guidance  can be found here

For those with pre-settled or settled status who have family currently overseas, these family members may be able to join them in the UK through the EU Settlement Scheme even if they are not in the UK before Brexit.

For close family (e.g. children, parents, grandparents) and current partners/spouses, where the relationship existed by exit day, the deadline is 29 March 2022. For other dependent family and current partners/spouses, where the relationship did not exist by exit day, the deadline is 31 December 2020.

After these deadlines, family members would be able to apply through the applicable UK immigration rules but not through the EU Settlement Scheme.

EU immigration into the UK for work

(updated 5th September)

EU citizens will be able to enter the UK by using an EU passport up until 31st December 2020

The use of EU national ID cards for travel into the UK will be phased out during 2020 (more details to be provided in due course)

EU citizens intending to stay beyond 31st December 2020 will need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain (Euro TLR)

The government are no longer stipulating that EU citizens arriving for the first time in the UK after Brexit must apply for Euro TLR within three months of arriving in the UK (this had been stated in the policy published by the May government in January)

  • Further information can be found in the Policy Paper, which is available on GOV.UK here.

What is European Temporary Leave to Remain and who should apply for it?

European Temporary Leave to Remain will allow EU citizens who want to live and work in the UK beyond 31st December 2020 to do so

Successful applicants will be permitted to live and work in the UK for 36 months from when their application is granted but this form of leave cannot be extended

Euro TLR holders who wish to remain in the UK beyond the 36 months of their leave will need to apply under the new proposed immigration system to be introduced on 1st January 2021

How much does it cost and how do you apply?

Applications for Euro TLR will be free

All applications will be online and will consist of an identity check and a criminal record check (the format is likely to be similar to the application for the EU Settlement Scheme)

Further details of how to apply are expected to be released soon

Where can I find out more about European Temporary Leave to Remain?

Government  guidance on European Temporary Leave to Remain is available here.

Government  guidance on No deal immigration arrangements for EU citizens arriving after Brexit available here.

European Temporary Leave to Remain will allow EU citizens who want to live and work in the UK beyond 31st December 2020 to do so

Successful applicants will be permitted to live and work in the UK for 36 months from when their application is granted but this form of leave cannot be extended

Euro TLR holders who wish to remain in the UK beyond the 36 months of their leave will need to apply under the new proposed immigration system to be introduced on 1st January 2021

Applications for Euro TLR will be free

All applications will be online and will consist of an identity check and a criminal record check (the format is likely to be similar to the application for the EU Settlement Scheme)

Further details of how to apply are expected to be released soon

Government  guidance on European Temporary Leave to Remain is available here.

Government  guidance on No deal immigration arrangements for EU citizens arriving after Brexit available here.

EU citizens will still be able to pass through the UK border with a valid EU passport or ID card in the event of a no-deal Brexit until 31st December 2020.

The use of EU national ID cards for travel into the UK will be phased out during 2020 (more details to be provided in due course)

Right to work checks

Until the new immigration system is introduced on 1 January 2021, an EU Passport or ID card will continue to be a valid document for a right-to-work check.

Employers will not be required to differentiate between those who were resident before the UK left the EU and those who came to the UK after the UK left the EU.

Employers will not be required to check that their employees have obtained Settled Status, pre-Settled Status, or European Temporary Leave to Remain.

New employees may choose to demonstrate their right to work by demonstrating their Settled Status, pre-Settled Status, or European Temporary Leave to remain, but employers cannot require them to do so and must not discriminate against EU nationals.

No retrospective right-to-work checks will be required by employers so long as the initial right-to-work check was completed correctly.

If an EU employee was found to be here illegally (e.g. they entered the UK after a no-deal Brexit and lived and worked in the UK for longer than three months without securing ETLR), it is unlikely the employer would be at fault, so long as the initial right-to-work check was completed correctly.

There may be exceptional circumstances in which an employer has knowingly employed individuals who have not obtained the necessary leave (for example, as part of wider labour exploitation), and could leave themselves open to prosecution.

It is not yet clear how the changes to EU immigration into the UK in a no-deal Brexit outlined in the Home Office’s fact sheet will affect right to work checks.

The government have stated that “We will set out arrangements for EU citizens and their families who arrive after free movement ends soon”.  Euro TLR holders who wish to remain in the UK beyond the 36 months of their leave will need to apply under the new proposed immigration system to be introduced on 1st January 2021

Government  guidance for employers on right to work checks after Brexit has now been updated to reflect the new Euro Temporary Leave to Remain arrangements here.